What is the cost of child sexual abuse?

Children who are sexually abused may:

  • Sexual AbuseBlame themselves for the abuse
  • Feel hopeless, or have a sense of dread or doom
  • Fear even healthy affection
  • Have memories and bodily sensations that feel traumatising
  • Feel a loss of relationship with their parents and family
  • Live with constant secrecy
  • Feel angry, even hostile
  • Feel tremendous personal shame
  • Fear being in relationships, even friendships
  • Doubt that they are worthy of being loved

A 2001 study on child sexual abuse in NZ estimated that when health, mental health and legal costs were combined with losses in earnings and the loss of a person’s life potential, the annual overall cost to NZ was $2.4 billion per year.